the total nearing 7,000 flights now on hold. the ripple effect all across this country. it will be huge. so, here tonight, abc's lisa stark now. >> reporter: at new york's laguardia airport, a madhouse today, as travelers scrambled to get out before the storm comes in. >> we're trying to get back to raleigh, north carolina, and we're stuck. >> we're basically almost having nervous breakdowns. >> reporter: the airlines are taking no chances, starting to cancel flights tonight, from washington, d.c. northward. and on monday, united, delta, southwest, american, jet blue and us airways all announcing they will be closed for business on the east coast. a massive shutdown that will ripple nationwide. >> when there are flight cancellations in major hub cities like new york, like philadelphia, like washington, d.c., that affects travelers all over the country. >> reporter: airlines will remove planes from airports in the hurricane's path and hope they can fly back in on tuesday.